French care home operator Korian close to deal to buy mental health group

PARIS, Oct 1 (Reuters) - French nursing homes operator Korian said on Thursday it was in exclusive talks to buy psychiatric care firm Inicea from investment company Antin Infrastructure Partners and expand in the mental health sector.

A non-binding deal reached values Inicea at 360 million euros ($423 million), Korian said, adding the deal was expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2020.

Korian, which said it already operates 11 psychiatric care clinics in France and would add Inicea’s 19, said it would finance the purchase with a 400 million-euro capital hike with preferential subscription rights.

Nursing homes have been on high alert during the coronavirus pandemic, which is a particular threat to the elderly. Korian said in its statement that 94% of its care homes were unaffected by COVID-19 infections, according to its latest round of tests.

The group said its revenues had picked up in the third quarter and were expected to come in at between 945 million and 965 million euros in the period, while operating margins would improve slightly in the second half. ($1 = 0.8515 euros) (Reporting by Sarah White; Editing by Susan Fenton)